Hacking an 183 miles bike ride from Paris to London: Army style
This was the original bike I was going to take for the trip next week (September 21 through 23) on the TechBikers trip. I’m not kidding - this 25 kg behemoth. And I’m still considering it, even though I’ve never even ridden it for more than 10 minutes.
I’m not some hard-core cycler. I hadn’t worked out seriously for around 3 years now, so not only am I not fit but I’m carrying an inner tube along with the ride. And I only started training seriously starting September 2, only a little more than 2 weeks before the trip. So how does an Army guy hack a trip like this?
Knocking on wood that I don’t suffer some freak accident, I felt that there were three points of failure to be considered:
* Physical pain failure - not being accustomed to pain associated with contact points with the bike - primarily the hands and the saddle
* Cardiovascular fitness failure - not having enough cardio fitness to power through 6-hour days
* Strength failure - not having enough strength to exert force
With this being an endurance rather than a strength exercise, I saw physical pain and cardio fitness failures to be the most paramount. So the next step was to develop and test those hypotheses.
* Physical pain failure - unfortunately, there’s no other way to test this hypothesis other than subjecting the body to long endurance rides to see how it responds. Early in my training I did a 5 hour indoor gym cycle which showed my staying power on a saddle (or lack of it); luckily I also did a 1.5 hour outdoor cycle which showed that I gripped the handlebars a bit too tightly and also needed gloves.
* Cardio failure - this I felt was independent of bike training, and any type of long-distance cardio exercise could prove whether I had sufficient cardio endurance. I took a page from Crossfit training to prove this - high-intensity interval training like Fartlek runs or Tabata training sessions
So after I verified the hypotheses, I developed specific training exercises to address my deficiencies:
* Physical pain failure - the only way to address this was to spend more time on the saddle, address my bar gripping technique, and buy the right equipment
* Cardio failure - more high-intensity interval training to dramatically increase my cardio fitness, mixing both strength (focusing on lower body weight lifts) and a variety of other cardio exercises (for example swimming or Tabata pushups)
After this, it’s a matter of testing my new hypotheses on a long-distance ride and whether I’m addressing my points of failure. If so, continue training; if not, address the deficiencies and iterate again!
Like I said, I’m hoping that I’m not going to suffer some freak accident that spoils my wonderful cycle hack. But I know it’s going to be an awesome next week ride, and I’m looking forward to this adventure with my fellow riders.
Oh yeah - and help sponsor us! We’re looking to build a library in Nepal, and we’re still £10k from our goal, so every donation counts!